I can't believe I'm writing to tell you this, but I actually had a really positive experience with a new eBay service this morning. Almost six weeks ago, I sold a $600 Omega wristwatch to a new-ish eBay buyer based in India. Of course, I shipped the watch via Priority Mail with tracking and insurance, but for some reason, the delivery dragged and dragged once it reached India.
The buyer got nervous, opened an item not received case after two weeks, and I tried to assure him that the parcel was most likely not lost, just delayed. Eventually, the tracking did show the package in customs, only now, it was labeled as missing paperwork and would incur an additional fee.
I have shipped hundreds of packages abroad over the last decade and have never had this problem before. I personally felt that it was most likely that customs was trying to shake down the recipient for extra fees. He asked me to pay the fee, but I wouldn't budge as I had filled out the customs paperwork correctly and included the invoice inside of the package. I also e-mailed the label and invoice to him multiple times so that he could dispute the fee in person with customs.
Long story short, we went round and round for several weeks and the buyer refused to contact customs or pick-up his package. eBay kept delaying a ruling in the case, as they could see the package making progress through customs and the postal system and could view all of the correspondence between us.
Finally, as I was checking e-mails this morning, I saw that eBay had closed the case, ruled in the buyer's favor, and provided him a full refund while the watch was probably sitting at his local post office. I was livid!
Of course, as I prepared to reach out to eBay, I felt like I was getting ready to make a Hail Mary, as what would eBay actually do to help me? It seems that despite the tens of thousands of dollars I pay in eBay fees each year, they rarely help me in these unusual situations like this when I could really use it.
As I was looking for the customer service number, I happened to get directed to the eBay Concierge page. "What is this?" I thought. "Well, I guess it can't hurt", so I called the number.
I spoke to a young woman name Sharea and gave her a recap of the events. She said that she needed a few minutes to review all of the notes and put me on a brief hold. After a little while, she came back on and asked for a few more minutes, so that she could speak with someone else in another department. She came back on a little while later and said that she had some good news for me. She said that eBay would allow the buyer to keep the refund, but would reimburse me out of their own pocket, and if I wanted to try to recall the watch, I could.
I was blown away. Never in my 8+ years as a full time seller had anyone at eBay done anything like this for me, especially for an amount like this (about $650 total, with shipping). I told her such and expressed my profound thanks. I was really happy to have found at least one customer service rep that was willing to go above and beyond to help a seller when they really needed it.
So, in conclusion, I would enthusiastically endorse the new eBay Concierge service to those that qualify for it. I'm sure that eBay may eventually try to monetize it (when have they not tried to make money on everything...?) but here's the link
in case you want to check it out.
And needless to say, I will not be shipping to India again anytime soon!